deTour 2012: Urban Soundscapes - Wan Chai

About deTour 2012
Established in 2006, DETOUR is the annual flagship program of Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design (AoD), aimed at showcasing Hong Kong as a regional creative hub and featuring inspiring designs from Hong Kongs young and emerging creative talent.

With attendance of over 55,000 visitors in 2011, DETOUR engages the wider community and brings the entire city together to celebrate the synergy of local and international creative ventures. The three-week series of events incorporates the most original, bold and stimulating ideas from both Hong Kong and across the globe.

DETOUR is the event for local creative talents to introduce their work and gain exposure in Hong Kong. Last year the event attracted over 55,000 visitors and this year with a more comprehensive marketing campaign, along with other press channels such as Time Out Hong Kong, Milk Magazine and many other broadcasting channels, we are anticipating a larger audience size.

About Design Renegade
The quality and character of public space is a great measure of a city’s vibrancy. In the era of digital democracy, the free speech of the digital public square, and the absorption and enclosure of what was formerly public space in the streets, parks and public plazas into the commercial confines of the mall, one may ask: is physical public space still relevant to city life? Why focus on public space in Wan Chai?

Detour 2012: Design Renegade directs the attention of the public to explore our “right to the city”. We’ve assembled an outstanding group of artists and designers from Hong Kong and around the globe to act as agents of change, to be Design Renegades. We’ve asked them to imagine how Hong Kong’s public spaces would look and feel if they were designed for our health and wellbeing, to support the sharing of resources and generosity, versus competition and profit. We are challenging artists, designers, and the public to seek niches and loopholes in the social and spatial fabric of the city and to exploit these loopholes for public benefit, benevolence and delight. As Hong Kong Ambassador of Design board member Jehan Chu notes, “how far can we bend the rules without breaking them?”

The typical confines of an art gallery or design museum’s white walls form a discrete and bounded space for safely exploring new possibilities. In contrast, work in public space must engage the dynamic social processes of the commons and its role as a site for direct experience of the unpredictable vitality of city life. The goal of Detour 2012 is to cultivate awareness of the processes underway in public space in the city as a measure of the health and vitality of the city at large.

We seek to empower urban residents to imagine new possibilities for public life and public space. Detour 2012 will highlight the work of some of worlds best and brightest artists and designers whom are engaged in the daily process of culturally defining the city. Through the cultural collision of local and international ways of knowing and the contrast between the Former Police Headquarters site and public space in the Wan Chai neighborhood, this year’s Detour event is likely to challenge and engage participants as never before.

Urban Sounscapes - Wan Chai
Sound in the urban environment is something we experience every day but never pay much attention to. This intangible “background music” captures the mood of a city and the spirit of our everyday life. However, just as fish don’t know they are in water, we often have no clear impression or recollection of the sounds we live with.

To illustrate some of Wan Chai’s "background music", Li uses a recording of a short clip of sounds in the area around the local police station. This is also represented through the soundwave visualiser, describing the same experience from a quite different perspective. By capturing the changing form of the soundwave in three frames per second and reconstructing this data with pixel blocks, Li translates intangible sound into a three dimensional touchable sculpture - a Soundscape.

When audiences enter this installation work, they experience everyday life in an alternate way. They rediscover things ignored in daily life and thus can bring back a collective memory of our public space.


http://www.detour.hk/installations/urban-soundscapes-%E2%80%93-wan-chai#.ULnPDmd310c